Caspers used her bike to transport everything from hand grenades to transmitters for calling in allied bombing raids and microfilm revealing details of German troop positions… “It’s very important not forget…You fight for the same principles, don’t you? Freedom of opinion and freedom of speech, freedom of religion, against dictatorship…”
(From the foreword, by Sir John Hackett – Signatory 47 – to her book, written as ‘Elsa’, To Save a Life.) Helped Jewish Families. Arnhem escape. Representing the Dutch Resistance with their high losses, some by betrayal & sent to Concentration Camps.
‘Born in 1924, she represents the service and sacrifice of the people of Netherlands and their serious losses of life and freedom by betrayal, and the many others who suffered in the Concentration Camps. Some for what they had done for others, like Elsa, in helping Jewish Families and children, the persecuted, and, in Elsa’s case also, the later escape of our Signatory 47, later General Sir John Hackett, after his serious wounds in the Arnhem fighting – a debt he would never forget.
‘“Elsa” was only 18 when she began her work for the Dutch Resistance, posing as a nurse or midwife to enable her to cycle after curfew hours. From Jan41 all Jews had to be registered, and by late February the first round ups in Amsterdam had led to 389 being transported to Mauthausen. Her grandfather and aunt alternated as a successful shelter for a Jewish lady from Nov42 until 1945.
‘In Jan43 the Germans rounded up 1,200 mental patients and their nurses and none survived. Many Dutch people supported the Resistance with money, and there were various places for concealing “Divers” (often dark haired and brown eyed Jewish children), with doors behind cupboards but sudden raids and mass arrests led to the deaths of many of her friends in the Vught Camp in the south of the country and also Auschwitz.
‘In the Province of Brabant only one of the eight civic leaders survived the war and “helping an Allied soldier carried the death penalty”, with ever present dangers and the fear of betrayal. After the war ‘Loek’ would read medicine at Utrecht and practised in UK for five years between 1957 and 1962, thereafter becoming an anaesthetist and later a medical adviser in The Hague. Her memoirs of a Dutch Resistance Courier, “To Save a Life”, has a foreword by General Sir John Hackett who paid deep tribute also in his own memoirs to Elsa and the Dutch Resistance networks.’
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